Today I sent Little Girl (who we adopted from Ethiopia) into her gymnastics class and watched through the glass viewing window as her teacher greeted her. Little Girl's hair was fixed in the same style as the picture below, with 2 little puffs with bows in the front and free hair in the back (the last 2 weeks we've had braids, so it's not always free hair):
Her gymnastics teacher is African-American and she said to Little Girl, "I like your afro hair! It's cute!" To which Little Girl replied, "It's not my afro hair, it's just my hair!" Her teacher smiled at her.
But, I just knew she was thinking, "Poor little girl with a white mama."
Just being real here. And sharing a glimpse into the world of being a multiracial family. Obviously we are so thankful for how God built our family, and the blessings dramatically counter-balance the hard parts, but there are challenges. Often, I am sure I create many of the difficulties within my own mind. In all likelihood the very sweet gymnastics teacher probably wasn't feeling sorry for Little Girl having a white mother. And Little Girl only began learning English 16 months ago, so the fact that at 4 years old she didn't know the word "afro" is probably no indication that I have failed to properly educate her about and expose her to her birth culture. But still, the insecurities are there. And I know they are there for many other adoptive families. The voice that whispers, "You are not equipped to raise this child well." When I sense that voice, I remind myself that I am ill-equipped to raise any of my children well, no matter if they are genetically related to me or joined our family through adoption, and I am relying on all-mighty God, the creator of the universe, to fill-in where I fall short.
That being said, on the car ride home I did explain to Little Girl what an afro, or "afro hair" is. And then spent nearly 2 hours washing, detangling, conditioning, and putting twists in her hair because today was already planned to be a hair-wash, style day.
Find more Thoughtful Thursday here and Thriving Thursdays here.